Mast General Store
Hwy. 194 S., Valle Crucis
HOURS: Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–6:30 p.m., Sun. noon–6 p.m.
The Mast General Store still runs as an old-fashioned general store. Fresh coffee is just five cents a cup (and is sold on the honor system) and the post office tucked into the front corner of the store still deposits mail in the brass postboxes for the 200 residents of Valle Crucis.
It’s also a tourist attraction. Founded in 1883, the Mast General Store is on the National Register of Historic Places. W. W. Mast purchased 50 percent shares in the general store in 1897 and took over full ownership in 1913. The store remained in the Mast family until 1973.
Remnants of the store’s past still remain: The original potbellied stove is still stoked in the winter, old permits and licenses are tucked into the rafters, and aged posters are tacked up on the walls; there is even an old casket leaning against one of the walls on the 2nd floor.
The store is now employee-owned and several members of the Mast family can still be found operating the cash register or helping customers.
The store, which once sold everything from cradles to caskets, still sells bolts and candies by the pound and has an eclectic array of goods from souvenir T-shirts and cornbread mix to rocking chairs and tents.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition